Assessor: Sarah Schumann

Sensitive in 2010
No
Family
Asphodelaceae
Reason for the sensitivity status
Aloe species are widely utilised for traditional and medicinal purposes and are also popular in domestic and international horticulture trade. Plants of this genus were among those targeted and confiscated during a recent criminal prosecution of illegal plant collecting. Few known subpopulations and existing threats causing population decline makes this species vulnerable to further population loss. Were exploitation to also occur, recruitment and recovery may be poor. Releasing data on this species could exacerbate threat and vulnerability.
This species is either similar to another sensitive species or belongs to a group containing sensitive species, and is extremely rare in the wild. The localities of wild populations need to be protected to avoid loss to exploitation, which, due to its rarity, could drive the species to extinction within a very short time.
Exploitation extent
Uncertain - No data exists yet showing that this species is exploited in the wild, however it has one or more relatives or look-alike species (found in South Africa or globally) that are known to be utilised. This species has a similar life form or other relevant traits to its exploited relative(s), making it highly likely that it would be exploited for the same purposes.
Justification and references

According to the SANBI Red List Assessment, this species is Vulnerable as it is range restricted and experiencing population decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation (Mtshali, 2018). This genus is in demand and of popular interest in international horticultural trade, as indicated by several online marketplace, e-commerce and auction sites. Plants of this genus were among those targeted and confiscated during a recent criminal prosecution of illegal plant collecting (Confiscation Lists (2018-2021) provided by Cape Nature, SANBI Karoo Desert Botanical Garden and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden). Aloe species are widely utilised for traditional and medicinal purposes and are also popular in domestic and international horticulture trade (Grace, 2011). Many wild aloe species are threatened by over-exploitation for the succulent plant trade as well as over-utilisation for cosmetics and natural products which makes rare, endemic and utility taxa conservation priority (Grace, 2011). It is believed that the most sought after and so potentially vulnerable species among plant collectors, are rare endemics and difficult to grow species (Cousins & Witkowski, 2012). This suggests that this genus may be targeted and that this species may be at risk.

Cousins, S.R. and Witkowski, E.T.F., 2012. African aloe ecology: a review. Journal of Arid Environments85, pp.1-17.

Grace, O.M., 2011. Current perspectives on the economic botany of the genus Aloe L.(Xanthorrhoeaceae). South African Journal of Botany77(4), pp.980-987.

Mtshali, H. 2018. Aloe distans Haw. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. 

Population vulnerability
Population is vulnerable: size is <= 2500 mature individuals OR the number of known subpopulations is <= 5 OR range is <= 100km2 OR species at risk of localised extinctions
Justification and references

This taxon has an extent of occurrence of 499 km┬▓, is thought to be locally abundant and is known from seven subpopulations with a declining population size (Mtshali, 2018).

Mtshali, H. 2018. Aloe distans Haw. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. 

Targeted demographics
Unknown.
Regeneration potential
This species has a slow population growth rate, or the growth rate varies depending on habitat, and there is a poor chance the wild populations will recover from exploitation OR a collector might feasibly harvest the entire extant population removing the chance of subsequent recruitment.
Justification and references

Few known locations and existing threats (Mtshali, 2018), causing population decline makes this species vulnerable to further population loss. Were exploitation to also occur, recruitment and recovery may be poor.

Mtshali, H. 2018. Aloe distans Haw. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1.